PRINTING METALS IN ULTRA PRECISION

 
 

  
 

Applications / Industries

The LMM technology sets new standards in the additive production of metallic components with regard to precision and surface quality. In addition to the classic fields of application of additive manufacturing, such as complex geometries with internal structures if necessary, the technological boundary conditions of LMM technology result in particular in the case of small and very small metallic components with component masses of up to 30 g for small to medium quantities in an application field of the highest economic efficiency.

The LMM technology as an economical supplement in the small to medium quantities range

Even for applications outside these boundary conditions, the advantages of LMM technology make it an economically and / or technically viable manufacturing alternative. LMM technology can thus be used as a supplement to the Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) process for quantities for which the manufacturing of a MIM mould is uneconomical. Furthermore, it is suitable for the rapid production of prototypes of MIM parts in order to bridge the period of the manufacturing process of the MIM tool.

Similarly, there are examples of other manufacturing processes where LMM technology is a useful addition.

Industry-specific advantages of LMM technology

Areas of application for the LMM process include the following industries:

Jewellery industry

The individual shapes and filigree details of high-quality jewellery place high demands on the precision of the manufacturing processes. Combined with the usual small number of pieces of such jewellery and the possible wide range of materials that can be processed, as well as individual individual adjustments of the jewellery, such as the printing of initials or the like, make the LMM technology a highly interesting manufacturing alternative.

Precision mechanics / mechatronics

More and more sophisticated and functionally highly integrated mechatronic or precision mechanical assemblies have led to a steady increase in the demand for miniature components in recent years. At the same time, these components are often subject to high stresses, so that plastics can no longer be used. LMM technology can also be a highly economical manufacturing alternative for such applications. High precision and surface quality, combined with high strength, reduce the necessary reworking to a minimum

Automotive

A combustion engine that complies with current standards consists of 1,400 - 2,500 individual parts. Increasing demands on performance and lightweight construction, especially in view of the reduction of moving masses, increasingly require components with coordinated mass distribution and simultaneously low component weight. In most cases, this is achieved by reducing wall thicknesses or removing material volumes that are not functionally relevant. As a rule, this is associated with the demand for high strengths. Due to these changed boundary conditions, various additively manufactured components have been used in engines of all types, sizes and fields of application in recent years. With the aid of LMM technology, components that fully meet these requirements can be manufactured in a time-saving and economical manner. The high precision also enables areas of application that were previously largely inaccessible to additive manufacturing. For example, filter elements with bore diameters of up to 0.1 mm can be manufactured using LMM technology.

Aerospace industry

Materials used in the aerospace industry are usually difficult to process mechanically, so that the most economical way to produce them is to use near-net-shape forming processes. In combination with often complex geometries and lightweight structures, such components are the focus of additive manufacturing. LMM technology has an advantage over other additive processes due to the possible variety of materials, including non-weldable materials.

Medical technology

The further development of minimally invasive procedures often requires correspondingly complex and filigree tools and instruments. In combination with materials that are difficult to machine, LMM technology offers an optimal field of application. The highest economic efficiency is usually achieved in a hybrid assembly in which classically manufactured components are combined with additive components at optimal cost and function. The use of LMM technology is not limited to small quantities. Due to the possible three-dimensional nesting of components, LMM technology can also be used to produce larger quantities of small and very small components economically.

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